March 5 reflection by Eugenia and Cecilia

We woke up around 6 AM and started getting ready to go to the breakfast at the community center: we changed, brushed our teeth and took our bucket shower. Right after this, we took our bikes and rode until the community center, where we met the rest of the group. We started having breakfast around 7 AM. That day’s food was basically fried rice with vegetables, a very traditional Cambodian meal that can be easily found in any restaurant you go into, coffee, Royal D (orange juice powder) and delicious banana chips.

After eating, we were divided into our work groups, which could be chicken house 1 or 2 or pig house. Both of us were in chicken house 1, so, we took our bikes and went to the place we had started working two days before. On that day, our main objective was to dig 1-meter-deep holes using a spade and a coconut shell to help us. We worked on it from 9 AM until 11:30 AM, of course, having some breaks to drink coconut water and eat apples.

After being done, each of us drove back home to take a shower and start packing, as that would be our last day at the island (we would leave on Friday morning). By 1 PM we went back to the community center to have our last lunch there: rice, of course, vegetables and chicken. Some time later, our guide Amanda, asked us if we approved or not of “voluntourism” in a scale from 1 to 5. Then, we were given some articles to read about the theme and we were divided into two different groups of discussion. At first we were asked to debate between the people who were in our own group to see what each of us thought. After this, Amanda told each of the groups to defend a position: group one would be against and two would approve. After sharing our ideas and building convincing arguments, each group had to present them.

After this activity, we were free to do whatever we wanted to: some of us decided to stay at the community center reading or resting, others went back home to finish packing… But, we all met by 5 PM at the community center again, to have our last dinner there with our homestay families. It was a very pleasant moment, once we had the opportunity to sit on a mat and serve them, as a way to thank them for all the hospitality.

Later, we went back home, and, as we didn’t have power, there wasn’t a better option than going to bed early and have a good night of sleep, as the next day would be totally exhausting!